Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
Motorcycles for Women
Let’s be realistic, most women are shorter than most men except maybe “Yours Truly” but even I went for a lower center of gravity in a motorcycle with my Harley Davidson Heritage Classic. I am 5’11’ but on a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, it isn’t always comfortable for me to place both feet flat on the pavement.
The politically correct term for being short or tall nowadays is vertically challenged although for purposes of this article we will use the words short or tall. Height is all relative but not necessarily when you are talking motorcycles. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average height of a woman in the United States is approximately 5’.3” and a man is 5’.10”. Most motorcycles can’t be flatfooted unless you are a person 5’.6” or taller. One frequent question I receive is, “Where can I get a motorcycle for a short person?”
If you can’t find a motorcycle low enough for you to easily place your feet flat on the pavement, you can have the motorcycle lowered from your dealer or a custom motorcycle shop. Lowering costs around $150 to $300 or more depending on the shop.
Some ideas that help lower your motorcycle or make it easier to ride for a shorter person are: lowering the shocks or the front fork, changing the foot pedal placement so that they are easily accessible without stretching, change the handlebar placement so that you don’t have to reach when turning, change or modify the seat, etc. One watch out is not to lower the shocks or fork so much that it affects the cornering and turning ability. If you have the shocks lowered be careful that they don’t bottom out on bumps.
By changing or modifying the seat to a lower, narrower seat it allows your legs to hang down on the sides longer. You can have the foam in the seat shaved down or narrowed to give a couple extra inches. A riding boot with a solid chunky heel can also give you that extra inch or two that may mean the difference between tip toeing and feet flat on the pavement.
Sometimes you can get a smaller tire that will also save some distance but that should be determined by a qualified shop and manufacturer specifications.
Smaller cruiser bikes are usually manufactured lower to the ground, such as the Honda Rebel 250cc. Make sure you sit on several types of motorcycles before deciding which one you want. The fit is the most important consideration.
Until next week, ride safe.